Across the globe, a new wave of affluent wealth is appearing.
This "new wave" is younger, more socially conscious, and much more in tune with technology than their Baby Boomer parents. How can advisors connect with them? By showing them you are socially conscious and more in tune with Twitter, Facebook and mobile apps.
And that's just for starters.
That's right, change is coming to the financial market, and its newly emerging face is that of a young investor looking to leverage his or her financial futures, as his or her Baby Boomer parents begin to transition into their golden years.
That transition affects financial advisors, too.
For example, younger investors – think the Generation X demographic (born in the 1960s and 1970s) and the Generation Y demographic (born in the 1980s and early 1990s) are set to overtake the Boomers in overall financial assets in the next decade.
That's good to know, on one level, but flip the script and there is a scary trend developing for advisors. Just because you do business with the Baby Boomers doesn't mean you'll earn the business of those Gen X and Y sons and daughters coming into their financial prime.
In fact, the odds are highly likely that you won't earn their business.
Studies show that 98% of new wealth inheritors change financial advisors. The good news? Family specialists who take a "glass half full" outlook can benefit from that trend, as the field is wide open for advisors looking to add some of that newbie wealth to their client lists.
Just how much wealth are we talking about? About $28 trillion in total wealth by 2018, says a new study from Deloitte Wealth Management entitled “A New Breed: Opportunities for Wealth Managers to Connect With Gen-X and Gen-Y.”
How can you best position your business to attract a healthy slice of that $28 trillion? Take these steps and you'll be first in line when young investors start looking for professional financial services help.
Emphasize Social Consciousness
What do young Baby Boomers look for when seeking professional investment advice? Two words – trust and values. But not their kids. Younger investors place a much higher priority on transparency and community. Think "social responsibility" and you'll really start to see that new face of tomorrow's financial consumer.
Check Your Google Fingerprints
Gen X and Gen Y were raised in the information age, where data is as much a commodity as widgets and washing machines. That's why, when they get a referral with your name on it, job one for young financial consumers is to check you out on Google. Be prepared for that by conducting an "online facelift," and assess your practice's profile, image and message online to see if it matches the social responsibility theme that means so much to the younger generation. If it does not, scrub away what doesn't promote transparency and trust, and create a new image that promotes those themes.
"As financial advisors provide services to the younger generation, they need to include more interactive online capabilities,” says Jill Jacques, wealth management and retirement lead/principal for North Highland, a global consulting company.
Go Where the Business Goes
Gen X and Gen Y clients love hanging out on social media sites such as Facebook, Linked In and Twitter. If you don't establish a presence on such sites, you’ll come off as detached and aloof from the technology trends that young investors value. The good news (besides the edge in positioning over your competition) is that establishing social media credibility is fast, cheap and highly effective.
Jacques says one of the biggest differences between generations is that those in Generations X and Y are more likely to do research before and after their meeting. "Often, they will come prepared with thoughtful questions about research they have done online themselves. And they'll often research their potential advisor through social media. Financial advisors should maintain a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as long as they remain compliant."
Hire a young "contact" – Jeff Seavey, a client advisor at SunTrust, advises building stronger connections with younger investors by having younger staffers close by to interact with them. "The best way for financial advisors to connect with younger clients is to devote resources to serving them better," he says. "Having a member of the advisor team who is close in age and exclusively devoted to serving them is the best approach."
The Bottom Line
For a burgeoning financial practice, learning all you can about Gen X and Gen Y isn't a luxury – it's a necessity.
In that regard, promoting a new image and message that matches up with what the new face of financial consumers want and expect is a process where failure just isn't an option.